Common Monsoon Ailments And Their Prevention
Monsoon comes as a breath of fresh air after the scorching summer heat, but it comes along with its own difficulties. We see quite a few diseases spreading every year during the monsoon period.
Though flu is one disease we see pretty often, other diseases such as Typhoid, Cholera, Dengue, Malaria are the ones to watch out for. The common causes are unhygienic environment, mosquitos, overcrowding.
There is no specific age group as such to get affected by these diseases so it’s important for everyone to have an awareness about what the symptoms are and what can be done to avoid them and if affected how to get efficient treatment.
Water and food borne diseases
Though there are many diseases which spread through food and water, here are the few common diseases seen in India:
- Gastroenteritis infections
- It is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi and paratyphi
- Symptoms are fever which is seen at evenings and early mornings along with headaches, loose motions, abdominal pain, fatigue.
- Typhoid can be diagnosed by tests such as Widal, blood culture, Salmonella antibody test
- The challenges in Typhoid is that the tests may turn out negative in early stage of disease so it’s important to visit a qualified physician who can diagnose it by clinical symptoms
- The complicated part of the disease is that symptoms might subside but disease might be present in gallbladder. The course of treatment depends on the severity of disease.
Dr Prashanth A., General physician at Zoi hospitals says - I have encountered patients in age group between 16-21yrs being more affected this year as compared to previous years
Tips For Prevention and Recovery
- Drinking clean water and eating hygienic home-cooked meals routinely.
- Regular follow-up checks are necessary during recovery to prevent multiple attacks.
- Gastroenteritis is commonly seen during monsoon. Contaminated food and water due to bacteria or protozoal organisms is the cause. The temperature and humidity help in the growth of organisms.
- The symptoms can vary from mild abdominal pain to severe pain associated with loose motions, vomitings, weakness, headache.
- The main form of treatment is fluids. So, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated. Oral Rehydration Solution is helpful.
- If symptoms are severe, I.V. fluids and antibiotics will be prescribed.
Tips For Prevention
- Keeping yourself-hydrated is critical
- Avoid roadside foods and have water from a clean source.
- Another disease which spreads through contaminated water and food. The disease is caused by an organism called Vibrio cholera.
- Presenting complaints are multiple vomiting and stools also known as “rice water stools”. This leads to loss of fluids and electrolytes from the body leading to severe dehydration which may lead to death if not treated early.
- Proper and early replenishment of fluids and electrolytes is important. ORS solution is available at any store and early intake of it will be lifesaving.
- No antibiotic treatment is required for cholera.
Tips for prevention
- Maintaining hygiene
- Always wash fruits and vegetables before consumption
- Ensure clean and safe drinking water
- It will be wise to avoid eating roadside panipuri and samosas etc at least during this season
We have seen recently Nepal govt ordering for closure of all panipuri selling vendors in view of increased cholera cases.
Mosquito borne diseases
Although there are many diseases spread by mosquito bites, the most frequently seen diseases are Malaria and Dengue. Without proper care the diseases can be life-threatening.
- It is caused by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito and by the transmission of disease-causing malarial parasite.
- Symptoms usually arise 10 days post mosquito bites. Patients may present with high grade fever and severe chills in the evenings, headache, sudden fall in temperature leading to excessive sweating.
- More severe form may present with severe anemia, jaundice, hypoglycemia (fall in sugar levels), seizures, loss of consciousness, coma.
- Malaria is typically diagnosed by antigen test or blood smear test
- Treatment varies between tablet to injection form depending on severity
Tips For Prevention
- Clearing any stagnant water in your surroundings to eliminate mosquitoes.
- Applying mosquito repellents in the evenings or when going out.
- One of the most common and dangerous diseases caused by the mosquito Aedes aegypti. This mosquito bites in the day and breeds in clean fresh water. It is easy to treat but can be life threatening also in very minimal cases leading to dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome
- It usually presents as fever with joint pains. Pains are very severe that is why it got its name “break bone fever”.
- It is diagnosed using NS1 antigen and IgG and IgM antibody test
- The mainstay of treatment is fluids and symptomatic treatment. The use of pain-relieving drugs such as aspirin or NSAIDs should be taken only on advice of physician as they may worsen the disease by leading to bleeding
- The most important aspect of this disease is fall in platelet count so any value less than 1 lakh recommended for a hospital admission and if platelets keep decreasing, single donor platelets (SDP) are advised as treatment.
- There is no specific cut of value at which SDP should be given. It depends on clinical symptoms and is ultimately called by the treating doctor.
- There is no specific fixed drug for treatment of Dengue.
“The notion of papaya and kiwi fruits increasing platelets is still debatable”
- To use mosquito nets, using mosquito repellants
- Any water accumulation should be avoided, even if its fresh water
- People living in endemic areas of malaria should take prophylactic drug courses under physician’s advice.
Take home points
- Although many drugs are available over-the-counter(OTC) for fever, it is not advisable to take them without physician approval, as the course of each disease is different and it can cause complications before reaching out to the doctor. So, the advice is to meet your physician as early as possible in the event of complaints such as fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, loose stools. As self-medication can do more harm than good.
- Flu vaccines can help in decreasing the chance of disease, it is advisable to take booster doses yearly once.
- If we can keep our food and drink intake hygienic and consult our doctor as early as possible, surely we can make every monsoon memorable
Dr. Prashanth Reddy. A
Zoi hospital, Somajiguda